a three foot orchid
crept into my room
obviously grown
within a warm heart
plush, thick, green leaves
stare toward the flowering top
it is an autumn orchid
with deep red, rouge flowers
translucent so that only
afternoon light
can shine through
to remind us why we’re here
where we should look

a great performing artist died
and i never heard of him
Mohammad Reza was a beloved singer
adored and revered by iran and many other countries
and i never heard of him
his voice must have sounded magnificent
in the acoustics of the huge iranian halls
i never heard him in person
his voice is seamless there is an expression
unlike any in the western world
his technique supports every color of his beliefs
i listen to his recordings, begin to cry
because of the overwhelming beauty
because i was never able to smile into his face
the three instrumentalists who extend his phrasing
drop poetic exultations and embellish all that he does
they are four exotic spirits exploding into glory

our countries are too busy counting bombs
calculating who will die first in a holocaust
acquiring money, counting it, stacking it in vaults
flexing their muscles inside strangling wars
Mohammad and the ensemble continue on with tenderness
whispering into the ears of struggling power
hoping that they will stop and listen
wishing for them to untangle their anger
drink the magic of sipping wine and starting
a slow chain dance, arm in arm

( four love songs)

watching the ways of the wind
a slight movement here
a larger movement there
amused by the dance of two winds
aggressively approaching each other
and then breaking into a gentle,
kinky pas de deux.
i have looked
into the eye
of a hurricane
touched an appassionate
screamed and cried
by joe pass


it’s been a very, very
long, long time
since we have kissed
but it is not forgotten.
touching of such importance
lingers for a lifetime.
some people have said
that it is indelible
that it travels with you
to where you don’t exist
you are my sunshine my only sunshine,
you make me happy when skies are gray.


never allow anyone entrance to your heart
unless it is filled with love
unless it is ringing with joy
unless it is dripping with kindness
the caverns of the soul
are incomprehensibly secret
never allow yourself to give up
you will paint every dream
with all that is necessary
with unmistakable wisdom
you’ll never know dear how much i love you
please don’t take my sunshine away


i was taking a walk
to nowhere in particular
six feet in front of me—-a circular wind cone
faster and faster, right in my face
clamps itself on the top of my head
pulling up, up, up
to the top of the earth’s glass dome

everything has dropped down
fallen from my shoes
all the names of people
all the gorgeous faces
just letting me go, until i am nothing
where are you?
i’m only nothing without you,
you are everything
the sky is blue lover come back to me

[for past, present and future love]

When the sun was almost autumn,
breezes were a warm tender kiss,
gentle air waved to the bougainvilleas,
a small dark-haired tabby
left the crowded colony at the reservoire
to find a new, calm,
peaceful home.
she climbed a fence and jumped
into a garden of roses.
the smell was enchanting,
it was a special place
no noise
no dogs
no danger.
she rolled her body into a ring of sleep

the next morning she awoke
to the beautiful sound of a woman’s voice.
quietly and carefully the tabby
walked around the garden.
she stepped onto a wooden deck,
there was a round, orange plate
with delicious food for a new cat
a name was painted on the plate, it said Bella.
the lady was standing in the doorway
she said, “good morning Bella.”
Bella liked the ring of her name
it sounded like the bells from the
church tower.

til places to be warm on cold evenings,
as she grew older she was bothered by the cold.
the kind lady noticed this and bought a little house
with an electric blanket.
She circled the house for several hours and
finally went inside, she was delighted
she felt like a queen in a tiny kingdom
she knew she was loved
she was almost 20 but she was healthy
even though she had trouble walking

she saw Bella curled up as if she was taking a nap
she knelt down and ran her hand along Bella’s back
“on my poor, dear one. you’ve had a good life. it’s so hard to
let you go.we will miss your quiet beauty.”
the other cats understood. they backed away quietly
and jumped over the back fence.
the beautiful lady was alone with Bella. she knelt next to her
and purred as though she was a cat.
and then she cried for a very long time
she picked Bella up very carefully and took her into the house
she wrapped her into a dark blue, velvet blanket
and added some flowers so that Bella could sniff the smell which she had loved for so many years.

the next day a friend came to say goodbye to Bella
they covered her with more flowers
and rolled her into the blanket
they drove to the buddhist temple for animals

there was a beautiful marble altar
they placed Bella on the altar
opened the blanket
and the smell of flowers filled the entire moon
they knelt before the altar
and chanted her spirit into the universe

“may your journey home
be full of peace and love
may you purr into eternity
and never be lonely
we shall never forget you”

for Bella

sometimes she couldn’t go to get her food
because her legs had become so stiff and rigid
someone from the house would bring it to her
Bella was grateful and often did a silent meow
to show her appreciation.
there were many cats in the neighborhood and
as Bella grew older they would come and visit,
they told her about happenings outside the garden,
Bella recited old stories and long ago poems
from days when she was a little kitty.
when she reached her 22nd birthday she could hardly walk
she sat upon the warm stone pathway and thought of her good fortune
several of the neighborhood cats kept her company
they watched her breath getting slower and slower
until it finally stopped. she didn’t move. she was dying.
the other cats sat there quietly until it was quite dark,
they huddled close to bella, purring and humming,
whispering to the presence of the blessed spirit.
you could only see the outlines of their shadows
they sat there all night, didn’t move, never left.

In the morning the beautiful lady looked toward the back
of the garden and saw the circle of cats

hush my beauty, don’t you cry
i’ll be your hero bye and bye
when that hero lifts you up
hide inside a buttercup
if that buttercup should melt
run to where the sun is felt
when the moon shall rise and shine
the milky way will show a sign
come with us into the sky
we’ll sit down with rhubarb pie
hush my beauty come with me
i’ll love you eternally

somebody dumped dirt in
the sky it’s a
lot of dirt it’s
very orange dirt it
must be a hundred
dump truck loads maybe
more how did it
get there it’s turning
orange more and more
orange by the minute
the sun is trying
to push through it
doesn’t seem to be
able to get through
today it will be
a sunless day the
orange is getting brighter
the dark underneath is
getting darker what’s happen
ing is this the
end of the world
i’d better put a
clean shirt on in
case it’s the end
the end of the
world i’m not sure
about an orange ending

so many mornings
i awake with tears in my eyes
thinking about
how many things we've ignored
as another section of the earth
breaks away
falling into the flames of space
how much of the beauty
has been destroyed
so many afternoons
you sit in the late summer sun
knowing that
you musn't allow sadness
to creep into your hearts
and burn hope
into nescience and hollowness
how much of the truth of love
becomes a lie

as twilight drifts into blackness
we are wholly tears
we accept only fear
we are fading into disappearance
we cannot allow this obstruction
our courage must not melt
disappear into spiritual mist
'for the beauty of the earth,
for the beauty of the skyes'

he is a dark spirit of the murky, muddy black
she is an opaque whisk
of the morning’s dew-filled ascension
he is a twirling , blinding flash
hiding in the power of sunshine
she is a diving splash of meteors
covering the mantle of midnight
they fall to the center of an unforgivable mixture
each day the chaos sizzles
every moment is the clamor of unheard explosions
covered by the silence of destruction
opened by the dawning rumbles
shouting for every particle to become melting
swaying grasses push against the thick tree trunks
as the whispering wind
as the shouting wind
as the frantic wind
reaches out for all things to join forces
brace against disaster
dig deeply into the core of hope
touch everywhere with love’s memory
do not
turn back

she was much too old
i      was much too young
perhaps i was only taken in by her long
artistic arms and hands
the way they arched perfectly 
before touching the keys
it seemed as though she was royalty
                    she had three harpsichords
and three harpsichord rooms
this was better than being a queen
she was married to a doctor
he was a perfect gentleman
he had perfect diction
                    and dressed like a millionare

there were five of us in her class
                        she taught us pure german vowels
i never knew they existed
she took each of our voices and sculpted them into purity
i had no idea how famous she was
sometimes she invited me to tea
          she even asked me to help pour one late afternoon
i was introduced to so many musicians
i felt very important
occasionally she would run to one of her
harpsichords to illustrate something
i would swoon at the sound and her heroic profile

one evening I joined some friends
for a performance of Bach's St.Matthew's Passion 
i watched the players file on to the stage
take their places and tune their instruments 
i searched each of their faces and then 
my eyes stopped at the conductor's podium
next to it was a large, beautiful harpsichord
my teacher sat at the keyboard
head bowed, eyes closed, a posture of deep meditation
when the conductor raised the baton
she was there, in front of my gaze
sinking deep into the incomparable 
sound           of             Johann Sebastian Bach

he seemed like someone
who never wanted
to understand me
he stood there long after death
with an enormous question mark
in his absent eyes
it was a missed opportunity
to travel deeply
into someone's psyche
if i wait long enough, there may be silence
if i wait even longer, the silence may embrace me